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Student Life at WGU: Travelling while studying

Travelling the world while being a full time student can sound a bit unrealistic. But for those like me with a big thirst for travel, well the good news is that it is absolutely possible.

I’m pretty sure that everyone has a travel bucket list. And even though the idea of travelling can be intimidating (although it is, more often than not, exciting) we all have places we want to see before it is too late. Personally, my bucket list is way too long, which means I had no choice but to start as soon as possible, while studying. And I don’t regret anything - even if often it means being quite broke – it’s worth the risk.

The basic musts for travelling are money and time. With university only taking up to three days of each week, you might have guessed that time is not the issue here. Because sadly I am not rich yet, well, you might have also guessed it, the issue is money.

Not everybody is a lucky student with a grant. I had to support myself alone and find my own ways to make money. But I never considered myself to be unlucky. Not having a loan while studying just meant I had to go with the cheapest option, since all the money was coming out of my pocket. So I became a low cost traveller. Being a low cost traveller means travelling for 36 hours to get to a destination that is usually accessible by direct plane in eight hours. It means not being scared of the option of hitchhiking, it means a lot of car share and so on. Most days it was tight but it never stopped me. Hell no.

How did I manage? Hard work again. Getting a degree has always been primordial for me, but so does discovering the world. You may refer to me as a world wanderer.

Achieving the balance might also require a lot of hard work from you at first. But with smart planning and a well organised budget, travelling is surprisingly not so hard to manage, and you might even find it to be the right thing for you.

While studying, I have been from place to place. Among the places I have been you can count Colombia, Philadelphia, Miami, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France (but it doesn’t really count cause I’m from there), Belgium, Scotland, England (of course), and Ireland - and there are so many more to come! To be honest, in the three years of doing my degree, I have seen more places than I had before I started studying.

Working part time was the first thing that allowed me so many travels. If you want to travel, you’ve got to make some money. Or at least have some. But no, travelling doesn’t have to be always so expensive, they are always cheap options and comparison websites. The secret is also to book plane tickets in advance. The sooner, the cheaper. There are also a great number of traveling blogs out there providing tips on how to travel on a budget.

Camping. Camping is always great accommodation and if you have a good tent the weather won’t really make a difference.

In the last few years I have saved so much money going wild camping. Yes, it’s not for everyone, you need to be a bit adventurous to be able to go wild camping. It’s all about going out of your comfort zone and not minding being a bit more dirty than usual. Although wild camping is never as wild as it sounds.

If there is something that I really enjoy about going camping it’s that, most of the time, it is through looking for a good camping spot that I found the best landscapes. There are also a lot of different apps to help you find cool camping spots all over the world.

For me, the secret is also to have friends all around the world. With all of my friends, it’s mi casa es tu casa. And by travelling all around the world, you will make international friends.

Saving and not being a compulsive shopper also helped. Trends and fashion won’t last, but your own style will. Who really need a new wardrobe every season? Your clothes won’t last either, but your memories will for a life time. When it comes to owning stuff, I am a minimalist.

Travelling will also teach you more about the world. I’ve never been a big fan of geography, but travelling changed the way I was thinking about it. And to learn about another country, is there any better way than just to go there?

Travelling makes you more independent, and mostly when travelling to a poorer country, a reason to be thankful for the things you have.

Also, travelling while studying meant for me travelling while being still young. Because once I venture out into this big adult world, who knows if I will have the occasion to travel as often?

Travelling is also an answer to many things: when you feel lost, travel and you mind find your purpose on the way.

The question now is, if you’re not already planning your next trip, what are you waiting for?

About the author

Ophélie Lawson

Ophélie Lawson

Ophélie Lawson is a 23-year-old broadcasting, journalism and media communications student at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Born in France and raised in Paris, Ophélie enjoys low cost travel and her dream is to make documentaries. She posts her travel photos on her instagram feed ophelieelk.

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